Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dogs, Cats and Who's In Charge

Papa Bear and I have never really been in charge here at the house of perpetual remodeling. When the kids were all home, it was five against two. We spent most of our time like highland warriors, back-to-back protecting each others weak side from whatever battle the kids were currently waging. As our five kids began leaving for college or other endeavors, we found ourselves feeling like marbles in a shoe box. Logic would dictate that we sell this albatross of a hundred year old house, and move to something smaller, more efficient (and new). But no… Pap is attached to the old place. So we filled the void with a cat.

Ophelia is a grey and white, long haired mutt. We found her at a cat shelter. In typical cat fashion, despite her humble beginnings, she hadn’t been out of her carrier for more than five minutes before she’d completely taken over the place. Aside from the new cats I can create from the fur she sheds on my carpets and furniture, she’s a good ole girl and no trouble. But, a lowly cat was soon not enough for Papa Bear; he wanted something that came when he called, something that didn’t act like his kids. I slogged home from the day job one afternoon and was greeted at the door by Ruger, and a very pissed off cat.

Ruger is supposed to be a thoroughbred Shitzu; I even have papers to prove it. But mostly he’s a mess. If he were a person, he’d be the dorky younger brother of a skater dude. At any given moment he’s got something unidentifiable stuck in his fur, and his hair is in his eyes. But he is Pap’s boy, he likes to wrestle and chase things. Time passed and Ruger found his place in the rhythm of our home. He waits patiently at his bowl until the cat has eaten what she wants of his food. He has a corner of the couch to sleep on as long as the cat does not want to be there. He has learned to open the screen door and let the completely INDOOR cat, out. Life was good, my cat, his dog. Who’s missing kids? And then we inherited the Pomeranian.

Her name is Feather. She weighs about 8 pounds and looks like a she’d blow away in a brisk breeze. She has big, damp, brown eyes and loves to cuddle and snuggle. She also has a piercing bark, can run like a gazelle and does not care to share her home with anything except people. The first week she lived here, Ophelia had taken up residence on top of the bookcase in fear of her life, and Ruger was a shivering, quaking, twitching mess. Feather may be little, but she knows how to go for the jugular.

I adored her from the first. Aside from the fact that she was terrorizing my cat, and believed outside was designed for running and playing and inside was her toilet; she’s been a great dog from the beginning. The bickering, fighting, scratching and howling between our three pets, however, was becoming a definite problem that Pap expected me to fix. I tried stuff. I said “no, no” when Feather chased the cat. “Stop that” when she was snarling at Ruger. Nothing worked, I guess hugging her and kissing her knobby little head when you’re saying those things sends a somewhat mixed message.

Ophelia was the first to take matters into her own… well, paws. One morning she remembered that she outweighed this dog by at least ten pounds, and she had CLAWS. A couple swipes against Feather’s nose, and Ophelia was once again ruler of her domain. She immediately enforced the previous rules for dog behavior…eat when I say you can, sleep where I don’t want to be. It took Ruger a little longer, he basically lived for the hours Papa Bear was at home and layed low the rest of the time, but our dorky little man eventually figured out just how to get over on the bossy Pomeranian.


STEVIE G said...

You forgot to mention that Rugger thinks hes a "HUMAN".He is just as pickey a eater as you are! But altho he may be Papa bears we know who has his heart!

landdownunder said...

Yes !! totally agree with Stevie.
Except for the pickey eater bit.